It’s “answer time” for the candidates

Five candidates have been nominated for the position of Labour party leader. Left Foot Forward sets out the six areas that we want the debate to focus on.

With nominations now closed, we know that Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, David Miliband, and Ed Miliband will all be on the ballot papers that get sent out in early August. Left Foot Forward is hoping to interview each of the candidates before endorsing one.

Three weeks ago, we set out some ideas for the questions that the leadership contest should address and asked for readers to comment. After a lively discussion, for which we’re very grateful, we’ve adapted the questions. These are the questions that Left Foot Forward wants answered by the five leadership candidates:

1. Economy: The financial crash and consequential recession has called into question the party’s economic assumptions. Do you believe that the Labour government was partly to blame for what happened? Do you still believe that pursuing growth is the ultimate economic goal of government? If so, how would you encourage growth and what structural changes to the economy would you want to see (eg away from financial services)? Within that economy, how large a component of GDP should public spending be? How should we pay for that? And what is the state’s role once that level has been set?

2. Environment: Tackling climate change is more critical now than ever before. In the face of fierce lobbying by vested interests, and mounting public scepticism how do we inject a sense of urgency into addressing the problem? How would you take steps not just to build a clean energy economy – vital as that is – but also to dismantle the old, unsustainable economy in order that Britain can deliver on the targets set out in the Climate Change Act?

3. Society: David Cameron asserts that Labour was responsible for presiding over a breakdown in society. Do you accept the charge that new Labour encouraged a culture of individualism? Do you think it eroded civil liberties? Do you think David Cameron is right to want a “Big Society”? How else can Labour pursue a culture of community and solidarity? How do you see the debate about immigration fitting into this? And what about the pursuit of less inequality?

4. New politics: The coalition government is now committed to a referendum on the Alternative Vote, House of Lords reform, recall, and fixed term parliaments. The Labour government arguably failed to deliver on its promises in these areas. What explains our inability to deliver full constitutional reform? Would you be in favour of a referendum that proposed a more proportional electoral system as well as AV? Which system will you advocate for?

5. The election: Labour did see a large fall in support from so-called C2 voters, but it also lost DEs. Since 1997, the party has lost five million votes. What in your view explain this? How can the party win back trust and, ultimately, votes? Where else has support been lost? How should Labour try and win it back? Trust lost over Iraq?

6. The party: Across parts of the country – particularly London, Birmingham, and the northwest – good local campaigns helped increase some majorities, hold ultra-marginal seats, and win back councils. How should the party reform to embrace this local action? How should Labour learn from the “respect, empower, include” mantra of the Obama campaign?

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

10 Responses to “It’s “answer time” for the candidates”

  1. Fat Bloke on Tour

    Mr Mouse

    Blow it out your arse.

    As noted previously you are neither a supporter of the Labour Party or any friend to progressive politics, so that leaves you with one excuse to post here — you are a Trot on the wind up.

    When it comes to economics and the national finances I wonder why you swallow the right wing, coalition, middle class, dog boiling orthodoxy that debt is bad and must be avoided at all costs?

    There is no issue with public sector debt.
    Anything under 4% is OK by me.
    Please no re-run of the 1980’s.
    Thatch was saved by North Sea oil.
    The debt was “inflated” away over the course of the decade.

    The Thatch2 recession had a GDP fall of 2.5% and a deficit of 8.7%.
    Consequently that was a much poorer scenario regarding the public sector finances. NL really did imbibe his own liquid waste product when it came to claiming an economic miracle.

    Did you notice, did you complain at that time?Consequently times are tough but GB/AD had made good progress on a the recovery.

    What price Sniffy mucks it up?
    Double dip, what are you going to do, cut more?
    Please compare and contrast the repsonse of AM and GB to their little local economic difficulties, GB sorted it out and AM nearly broke the Euro.

    The scary thing is Dave the Rave is a pygmy in that sort of company, a wee boy in a “man’s” world. The country will pay heavily for his time in the sun.

    Do you have a mortgage?
    What does a 10% private sector surplus mean in relation to a 11% public sector deficit?
    Why did you ever vote for TB?
    Do you support anyone in the Labour Party?
    Who did you vote for last month?
    Do I have a cyber stalker?
    Why do you never answer a question?

    Consequently away and bile yer heid ya trumpet, as they say in G1.

  2. 5PETR

    Whether climate change is happening or not, most of the things we are asked to do to combat it seem sensible things to do anyway e.g. reducing our reliance on fossil fuels; saving the rain forests (surely even Nigel Lawson can’t quarrel with that); planting trees etc. But I would like to see the problem explained to us directly by scientists. As I understand it the problem is not that the world is warming, but warming at a rate too fast for nature (and us?) to adjust, and that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not cause global warming but accelerates it. It would be good to have this explained to us by scientists directly, rather than politicians, journalists or campaigners.

  3. Abbott supports AV but blasts Balls | Left Foot Forward

    […] Abbott is the second leadership candidate to respond to our questions crowd-sourced with Left Foot Forward readers after David Miliband spoke to us last week. Responding via email, the only woman in the race […]

  4. Ed Miliband: greater income equality should be an "explicit goal" | Left Foot Forward

    […] Miliband is the third of the five leadership candidates to answer Left Foot Forward’s questions crowd-sourced with our readership. Over 45 minutes in his office in Westminster, the former Cabinet Minister expressed his concern […]

  5. Balls accuses Milibands of "rerunning debates of the past" | Left Foot Forward

    […] to the other topics in Left Foot Forward’s crowd-sourced list of questions, the leadership candidate described David Cameron’s Big Society as “hacking public […]

Comments are closed.